Two weeks ago I ranked the Sacramento Kings roster. We discussed. We disagreed. We wasted some time. And really, isn't that what we're all about? So we're going to keep the tradition going. In this non-lockout season, weekly seems like it might be a little too often to rank everyone, so I'm considering updating these rankings on a bi-weekly basis. Voice your opinion in the comments, should these be weekly or bi-weekly rankings. Also, definitely voice your opinions on the rankings themselves. But seriously, it feels like the Kings have a week between each game.
Anyways, on to this week's rankings!
1. Tyreke Evans (Last: 2)
Tyreke would be in first place without hesitation if it wasn't for unexpectedly missing the last two games with an injury. Even still, he's good enough to land in first place this week. If anything those missed games showed us just how important Tyreke has been for the Kings this season. He's the team's most important player on both ends of the floor. It's truly been a revelation.
2. Jason Thompson (Last: 7)
JT has been superb in the post this season on offense and on defense. I outlined just how impressive he's been last week. This morning I went back and double-checked the stats to see how they held up after two less-impressive performances this weekend. Overall, they hold up. Believe it or not, JT's offensive numbers are now higher than when I wrote that post. He's scoring higher in overall PPP, Post-Up PPP, and OREB PPP. On defense he's averaging a slightly higher PPP, 0.75. This still ranks him as the 55th best in the NBA. JT has been a pillar of consistency early this season on a team that has been anything but. Also worth noting, JT is on pace to finish the season with 97 blocks. His previous high in a season was 73, in his second season.
3. DeMarcus Cousins (Last: 1)
DeMarcus Cousins probably deserves to be lower than this, but the rest of the team has been unimpressive as well. Cousins has been shooting terribly, has demonstrated a terrible attitude on the court (even for him), and fan sentiment is definitely turning against him. Nonetheless, he's still one of the team's most talented players. It is worth noting that Basketball Prospectus predicted a regression for Cousins this season, simply based on how big his improvement was in Year 2 over Year 1. Development is not linear. But that doesn't mean we should give up, and it doesn't mean Cousins is any less important to this team's future.
4. Aaron Brooks (Last: 9)
If these ranking were written weekly, Brooks would have been near the top of last week's ranking. Brooks played out of his mind as he first took over the starting point guard position, but plummeted back to earth this week. A big part of that, in my opinion, is the two games without Tyreke. Clearly Brooks was working well with Tyreke in the starting line-up. I'm leaving him here a little longer. He may not be as good as he was 2 weeks ago, but I don't think he's as bad as he's been the past week.
5. John Salmons (Last: 8)
I could copy and paste everything I wrote about Aaron Brooks and it would fit here. He definitely improved the starting line-up, and then fell back to earth. Sticking with Salmons here to see how it shakes out, and because the rest of the team hasn't been very impressive.
6. Chuck Hayes (Last: 3)
Hayes falls down the list simply because a few others finally stepped up. Hayes continues to do everything we hoped he would do when he signed with the Kings last year. He passes, he plays defense, he's a veteran presence. Sadly, those contributions are being wasted on this squad.
7. Jimmer Fredette (Last: 5)
Jimmer's defense has been terrible. That really cannot be said enough. If Jimmer played average defense it would be a vast improvement. Anyone wondering why he doesn't get more burn needs to watch both ends of the floor. That said, I'm sticking Jimmer here because I'm thrilled with his offense. His minutes are being jerked around, but Jimmer is impressing on offense every time he gets an opportunity. This is the player that the Kings drafted. He no longer looks lost, he no longer looks scared. He looks like a guy who can create offense. There's a ways to go, but I love the progress. Also, I was thinking about if Aaron Brooks were to opt out after this season. I don't hate the idea of Jimmer and Tyreke starting with Isaiah consistently running the second unit. Just throwing it out there.
8. Marcus Thornton (Last: 4)
Please note: This ranking is of Marcus Thornton overall. I considered ranking Marcus Thornton the 6th man separately from Marcus Thornton the starter. Marcus Thornton the starter would be considerably lower. I hope the last few games will serve to silence the cries for Thornton to start with Tyreke off the bench. Thornton is scorer, and I think he's a great player to have coming off the bench. I do not think he should be a starter.
9. Thomas Robinson (Last: 10)
Robinson is still learning as he goes, but he's showing more glimpses of why we were so excited that he fell to the 5th pick. He's providing a lot of energy off the bench. He still needs to learn a lot, but I'm not concerned.
10. Isaiah Thomas (Last: 6)
Isaiah's minutes have been on a yo-yo. I imagine he must be incredibly frustrated. And I'm sure that inconsistency has impact his ability to play consistently. But Isaiah is clearly struggling with Smart's offense this season. Whether that's more of an issue with Isaiah or with Smart is tough to say, but Isaiah is slipping down these rankings, even if it pains me to place him here.
11. Francisco Garcia (Last: 11)
Sacramento really had no business being in the game against Indiana. Half way through the first quarter the game looked like a blowout in progress. Garcia was part of the bench unit that came in and brought the Kings back in. The Kings lost a winnable game, but they honestly had no right to be in contention at the end. Big credit to Cisco for being ready when the team called upon him.
12. James Johnson (Last: 12)
Hey, remember when we thought James Johnson could be our answer at small forward? That was neat.
12. Travis Outlaw (Last: 13)
See Johnson, James.
14. Tyler Honeycutt (Last: 14)
Tyler's stats with the Reno Bighorns: 3.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, 2 assists, shooting 25%. Oh, and in case you're concerned that the Bighorns aren't giving Tyler enough playing time to truly develop, those are his numbers as he averages 23 minutes per game.
Alright, have at it. What did I get wrong? What did I get right? Let me know in the comments.